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Day in the Life (In-Office): Jon Simeon

Associate Designer, Charlesbridge

Day: Tuesday, June 6, 2023

This day overall was a bit of an anomaly for me, but interesting to see! Normally, I’m juggling many active projects and running around trying to get things from illustrators or files to the Production team. But, it was one of my goals earlier this week to get a bunch of projects off of my plate in an effort to leave me with a large chunk of time to think about future projects and devote a day to just being creative and aspirational!

09:00 – 10:00  Commuting into the Office and Doing Artist Searches. I start the day by searching for artists for future projects. Most of this is sifting through the samples I’ve saved and looking through the catalog of artists we’ve already worked with. I take note of some ideas and concepts and make a plan to discuss the search with the new intern. It would be a big help to have her continue the search for me later, and a good learning opportunity to how we start working on an art program for a book.

11:00 – 12:00  Emails. Nothing much going on here. Reading them to keep up-to-date with things. I noticed an email letting me know that the sketch revisions I was expecting will be coming much later than I wanted. It’s a bummer, but you can’t rush these things. Reconfiguring and reflowing this project’s schedule is a problem for future Jon—this is my day to be creative and I don’t want to be playing Sudoku with time!

12:00 – 13:00  Brainstorming session with the Creative Franchise team. My commitment to making this a day of creativity continues when with a group brainstorming meeting. An author-illustrator that an editor and I have been working with for a long time wants to start a new series, and she needs our help to figure out what it’s going to be about!

The editor and I meet up with a small group from the Franchise team to hash out some ideas the author-illustrator has come up with. She has a lot of thoughts, but none of them are quite concise and concrete. As a team, we try to dissect some of these ideas and work on expanding them, or even suggest some other avenues of exploration.

We come up with some cool concepts that can be taken to the larger franchise team, and the editor makes a plan to touch base with our author-illustrator next week with what we’ve come up with.

 13:00 – 14:00  Creative Hour with the team! It’s lunch time! And those of us at the office have been holding what we’ve been calling Creative Hour in one of the conference rooms from time to time. It’s just a chill gathering where we sit, work on, and share whatever arts and crafts/fun things we’ve been working on at home.

My wrist has been recovering from a fracture that happened back in February. It’s actually my first time doing a long drawing session since the accident—and I draw random shapes and textures (and whatever my hand comes up with and wants to do—I’m really good at turning off my brain for these kinds of doodles) without any real plan just to see what surprises turn up!

14:00 – 14:30  Prepping Files for the Printers. I get the notice that files that I had submitted for Production review are approved, and I collect the files so they’re ready for the printers and upload them onto the FTP site.

I write up the release email to the Production team to let them know where it’s done, and they contact the printers with my message and the Purchase Order. Nothing too glamorous, but it always feels good when something can go to production!

14:30 – 16:30  Sample Pages for a New Book Project. Earlier this week (probably yesterday? It’s hard to remember!) I started working on pulling together a Getting Started Package for an illustrator. This is a collection of resources and assets for the illustrator to begin sketching the book. Every book is different, and so the contents of these packages change a lot depending on the project. 

This one is a good example of how this process varies. This particular artist is one that I want to flip the script for. 

When working on laying out a book for an artist, I usually have an idea of what the layout should look like—where the type is going to be, and how much room to give for the illustrations. But this artist has such a unique and strange way of working, and I want to give him a lot more freedom to do what he wants! It helps that this is a fiction book that we’re working on (I work on a lot of non-fiction/historical-fiction books) and there’s fewer restrictions that I need to impose this time around.

Part of this plan to not have a plan had to be run by the Editor of this book and my Creative Director. They’re on board with it, and I have to make sure that whatever layouts I hand to the illustrator, that it gives him the general idea of how much room there is for art on a spread.

Around this time, traffic builds up outside of the office. Most days that I come in, a very very special doggo (that I have named Borky Boyye in my head) in someone’s car borks very loudly when traffic is slow. I take frequent breaks to just stare longingly out of the window, hoping to catch a glance of this doge pass by. All my coworkers are aware of my parasocial relationship with this doggo, and are on the watch out for him as well!

16:30 – 17:00  Random Artist Searches to fill up the rest of the day. Sadly, Borkey Boyye doesn’t show up today—could it be that since air quality outside is real bad that the owners aren’t bringing them outside or even just  keeping their windows closed?

Either way, there’s an awkward amount of time left in the day and I don’t want to start working on something big after working on the getting started package. So I continue the artist searches that I started at the beginning of the day. BOOKENDS!

Check out more from the Early Career Committee.

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